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August 24, 2014

Sunday Travel Thread: Onion Edition [Y-not]

Every once in a while a politician will do something that doesn't irritate the heck out of me. (I denounce myself!) Sometimes it's even funny or cute.

Just yesterday I discovered that the mayor of Salt Lake City made hay out of a recent Onion article (Yeah, yeah - I know!) poking fun at the city. Here's the background, courtesy of a local television station:

For those looking to visit Utah, you should know, you can leave at any time. That's the message of a new tourism ad posted by the satirical online magazine, The Onion.

It's a one minute clip showing the attractions of our state, all the while reminding people they don't have to see any of it.

A narrator starts off the video saying, "Welcome to Salt Lake City, Utah's picturesque state capitol and a gateway to the west that you're free to leave at any point."

The article states the video is part of a new tourism campaign called, "Free to Leave."

(I think they were poking fun at a real tourism campaign that included mention of easy freeway access/egress. That's sort of "a thing" here, I've found. People make note of things being close to the freeway as if that's a good thing.)

In any event, Salt Lake City Mayor McAdams responded to the Onion's piece as follows:

SALT LAKE CITY (Aug. 22, 2014) - In a swift reaction to an editorial travel segment he discovered in an online news publication yesterday, Salt Lake Mayor Ben McAdams has signed an emergency bill effectively blocking all exits from the Salt Lake valley.

The editorial segment highlighted a Salt Lake tourism campaign, which reminded visitors that they're never far from an exit and are free to leave at any time. "How are we expecting to increase revenue that way?" an incredulous Mayor McAdams asked tourism board members in an emergency meeting late Thursday night. "The amount of revenue this new bill will generate in hotel and restaurant taxes will pay for the closing of all Salt Lake's exit routes almost immediately. Keeping visitors here indefinitely will help secure our already thriving economy."

Construction began on freeway onramps this morning, and includes traffic cones, barricades, tire shredders, and other obstacles that will essentially prevent visitors from leaving the valley.

Go read the whole thing (it's short). Very cute.

The SLC story got me thinking about cities and their reputations.

In the late-80s, San Antonio was undergoing a tremendous amount of road construction, so much so that they had t-shirts made up. I think the slogan was "San Antonio: Riverwalk, Romance, Road Construction." Mr Y-not and I discovered this when we visited one August for a conference. The noise from the construction (which they conducted at night) was so bad that I wound up sleeping in the closet just to get away from the window!

(Speaking of San Antonio in 80s, I found this blog post while I was looking for a picture of that slogan on a t-shirt. It's a San Antonio "time capsule" from 1989. Check it out.)

Of course, back in the old days, Chicago had the moniker "Second City," referring to its size/population (before Los Angeles surpassed it). But it did also fit given the "little brother" mindset that Chicago seemed to have relative to NYC. I thought it was a charming quality back when I lived there. 'Seems to be long gone.

As an aside, old-timers and Chicagoans might remember the "Wild Chicago" television show. It featured cute, light-hearted segments about out of the ordinary people and places in "Chicagoland." I read that they're considering bringing the series back on DVD. In the meantime, there are some clips on YouTube, including this one of a peach pit carver:

Does your home town have a funny reputation or quirky persona?

Are there any reputations that places have that you think are undeserved? (BTW, don't say "Paris is not really all that unfriendly" because no one believes you!)

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:43 AM

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